Reading is a big topic of conversation when your kids are in kindergarten and elementary school. When should they be reading? When should I be worried? Does my child learn everything they need to know at school? What if they finish kindergarten are they still aren’t reading?
First, take a big inhale – hold for 4 – then exhale.
Second, here’s what you need to know: every child is different and reading is complex. There are a lot of factors involved!
Let’s start with when should kids start reading and reframe it:
→ when are kids READY to read?
They’re ready to read when their brains are developed appropriately and they have been exposed to enough reading foundations and education on specific skills. For some kids, this is at the beginning of their kindergarten year. For most kids in my experience this magical moment starts to happen right around February of their kindergarten year. For some kids this happens in May or June.
When should I be worried if they’re not reading?
First, keep in mind that every child is different. Some kiddos don’t start reading until later in the year and that’s normal! Some factors that play a role are your child’s birthday and the overall state of the classroom your child was or is in. If your child has peers who have serious or significant needs, and the teacher is the only one dedicated to supporting them, then your child’s reading progress could be slowed simply due to lower amounts of direct instruction time.
**Note about this: your child’s teacher wants more than anything to have adequate support for every child in the classroom. Know that they are doing everything they can and they are at the liberty of: state laws, district guidelines and protocols, short staffed support staff, their principal & superintendents decisions.
Now, let’s reframe:
→ what signs can I watch for and questions should I ask if my child isn’t reading in February of their kindergarten year?
Signs to watch for & what to do:
- Sign: Are they making growth or staying stagnant? If they started the year knowing 12 letters and sounds, and it’s been 6 months and they know 14 now, that’s an indicator they’re not making much growth.
- What to do: reach out to your child’s teacher to learn more. Ask your child’s teacher the following questions (learn your child’s teacher’s preference! Email, phone call, in person meeting):
- I noticed my child has only grown by two letter names/sounds. Is this aligned with what you expect in this time of the school year?
- Do you have concerns about my child’s reading progress?
- Are there any tests or in-school resources you would recommend we look into?
- Are there any outside resources you recommend we look into?
- It sounds like my child is making slow reading progress. In your professional, honest experience, what do you think is playing a role in the rate of his/her progress?
- If my child were your child, what would you do right now to support him/her?
*****Be ready to hear answers that are challenging. Be open to hearing about a behavior your child is exhibiting at school that they don’t show at home. Remember that your child’s teacher and you are on the same team: team (insert your child’s name). Then take the information given to you, sleep on it, and make a plan.
It would be foolish of me not to insert my own services here… I am a parenting coach here to support parents (and students and teachers). If this post resonates with you, do yourself a favor and add yourself to my Reading Bootcamp waitlist. This will be a virtual bootcamp to help your child go from right on the edge of reading, to reading and it provides you with tools to support your child through the process.
In the meantime, send me your blog requests and I’ll catch you next week!